By James Petras
Over half the US electorate views the two leading candidates for the 2016 Presidential elections with horror and disdain.
In contrast, the entire corporate mass media, here and abroad, repeat outrageous virtuous claims on behalf of Hillary Clinton and visceral denunciations of Donald Trump.
Media pundits, financial, academic and corporate elites describe the prospects of her presidency as one of responsibility, national security, business prosperity and political normalcy.
In contrast, they paint billionaire Republican candidate, Donald Trump as a grave threat, likely to destroy the global economic and military order, polarize US society and destined to lead an isolated and protectionist US into deep recession.
The super-charged rhetoric, flaunting the virtues of one candidate and vices of the other, ignores the momentous consequences of the election of either candidate. There is a strong chance that the election of ultra-militarist Hillary Clinton will drive the world into catastrophic global nuclear war.
On the other hand, Trump’s ascent to the US Presidency will likely provoke unprecedented global economic opposition from the corporate establishment, which will drive the US economy into a profound depression.
These are not idle claims: The destructive consequences of either candidate’s presidency can best be understood through a systematic analysis of Mme. Clinton’s past and present foreign policies and Trump’s belief that he his the ability to transform the US from an empire to a republic.
Clinton on the Road to Nuclear War
Over the past quarter century, Hillary Clinton has promoted the most savage and destructive wars of our times. Moreover, the more directly she has been engaged in imperial policymaking, the greater her responsibility in implementing foreign policy, the closer we have come to nuclear war.
To identify Hillary Clinton’s path to global war it is necessary to identify three crucial moments. Hillary’s bloody history can be dated initially to her de facto ‘joint Presidency’ with husband Bill Clinton (1993 – 2001).
Stage One: The Conjugal Militarist Presidency (1993 – 2001)
During Hilary Clinton’s joint presidency with William Clinton (the Billary Regime) the First Lady actively promoted an aggressive militarized takeover of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and Eastern Africa – often under her favorite messianic doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention and regime change’.
This justified the relentless bombing of Iraq, destroying its infrastructure and blockading its population into starvation while preparing to carve its territory into ethnic and religious divisions. Over 500,000 Iraqi children were murdered as proudly justified by then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright (1997 – 2001) and lauded by the Clintons.
In the same manner, Yugoslavia was bombed by the US humanitarian coalition air forces and cruise missiles over 1,000 times from March 24 to June 11, 2009 in the course of sub-dividing the country into five backward ‘ethnically cleansed’ mini-states. Thousands of factories, public buildings, bridges, passenger trains, radio stations, embassies, apartment complexes and hospitals were devastated; over a million victims became refugees while hundreds of thousands were wounded or killed.
The Conjugal Presidency successfully carried out the bloodiest war of aggression in Europe since the Nazi invasion during WWII, in order to subdivide an ethnically diverse and industrially advanced federation whose independent foreign policies had angered the Western corporate empire.
The Clintons launched the military invasion of Somalia (in East Africa) to impose a vassal regime, leading to the death of many thousands and a regional imperial war. Faced with desperate popular resistance from the Somalis, the Clintons were forced to withdraw US troops and bring in thousands of Sub-Saharan African and Ethiopian mercenaries – whose death would pass unnoticed among the US electorate.
From 1992 through 2001 the Clinton war machine helped set up the Yeltsin kleptocratic vassal state in Russia facilitating the greatest peace-time pillage of state resources in world history.
In the post-Soviet breakup era, over 1 trillion dollars of former public assets were seized especially by US and British-allied Zionist gangsters, Clinton-affiliated officials and ‘academics’ and Wall Street bankers. Under Clinton’s vassalage the entire Soviet public health system was eliminated and Yeltsin’s Russia experienced a population decline of 4.3 million citizens, mostly due to diseases, alcohol and drug toxicity, suicide, malnutrition, unemployment and loss of wages, pensions and and an unprecedented epidemic of tuberculosis and infectious diseases once thought wiped out, like syphilis and diphtheria.
Senator Hillary Clinton: War Crimes by Association- January 3, 2001 to January 21, 2009
During the George W. Bush dynastic regime, Mme. Senator Clinton supported the US war machine ‘sowing death and destruction to the four corners of the earth’ (to quote Bush Jr.), millions in Iraq and Afghanistan died or fled in terror. Bush had only deepened and expanded the mayhem that the Clinton Conjugal Presidency had begun a decade earlier.
Mme. Senator Clinton promoted the US direct and unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Mme. Senator Clinton embraced crippling economic sanctions against Iran and she blessed Israel’s military assault against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and Israeli massacres in Lebanon.
Mme. Senator Clinton supported President Junior Bush’s aborted coup against Venezuelan President-elect Hugo Chavez (2002), a prelude to the coup attempts in Latin America that she directed later as US Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton’s Senatorial term served as a transition linking her initial joint presidential period of wars of conquest onto the next period. As US Secretary of State under President Obama she aggressively promoted global military supremacy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Naked Militarism Unleashed (2009 – 2014)
Whatever restraints Mme. Clinton faced as Senator dissolved as she ran amok during her term as Secretary of State. Across Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, Hillary Clinton bombed, massacred and dispossessed millions of families, shredding entire societies and dismantling the institutions of organized civil life for scores of millions. She never balked at the prospect of ethnocide and even joked that NATO might become ‘Al Queda’s Air Force’ as she pushed for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria.
A wild-eyed cackle echoed down the marbled corridors as the Foggy Bottom turned into a psycho- ward.
Mme. Secretary promoted the terror mercenary brigades invading Syria in a bid to ‘regime change’ the secular government of Al Assad, driving several million Syrian refugees into flight. Entire ancient Syrian Christian communities were wiped out under her reign of ‘regime change’.
Mme. Secretary Clinton directed US air force bombers and missiles to buttress the despotic Saudi monarch’s drive to obliterate Yemen.
Clinton unleashed the most savage bombing against Libya destroying the country and leading to the ethnic cleansing of a million and a half of Sub-Sahara workers and Black Libyans of sub-Saharan descent.
Under the aegis of murderous jihadi warlords and tribal chiefs, Mme. Clinton joked over the torture death of the wounded captive President Gadhafi, whose nauseating, almost pornographic murder by anal impalement was documented as a kind of ‘regime-change’ snuff film. Less known is the earlier, almost Old Testament-type slaughter of several of Gadhafi’s non-political children and five small grandchildren by a deliberate US missile strike aimed at ‘teaching the dictator’ that even his smallest grandchild cannot be hidden.
Mme. Clinton, who bragged that her Biblical role-model is the ethnocidal Queen Ester, has declared unconditional support for Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and among the diaspora. Hillary endorsed and defended Israeli torture and prison camps for children, the elderly and the homeless.
Mme. Secretary sent her criminal sub-secretary Victoria Nuland (an unreconstructed Neo-Con holdover from the Bush Administration) to orchestrate the violent putsch in the Ukraine. Millions from Ukraine’s huge ethnic Russian population were dispossessed from the Donbas region. Mme. Clinton had sought to convert Russian strategic military assets in Crimea to US-NATO bases aimed at Moscow, causing the residents of Crimea to overwhelmingly reject the coup and vote to re-join Russia.
The forceful intervention by Russian President Vladimir Putin prevented Mme. Clinton’s ethnic cleansing power grab in Crimea and the Donbas. The US retaliated by pushing for massive European Union economic sanctions against Russia.
Consistent with her pitiless Biblical role model, Mme. Clinton openly threatened to obliterate Iran with a nuclear war and incinerate 76 million Iranians to please her Uncle Netanyahu – a demented process that would poison a hundred million Arabs and perhaps a few million Israelis. Even the insane Israeli ‘Samson option’ was never dreamt of being ordered from Washington, DC!
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Mme. Clinton actively obstructed any diplomatic moves to achieve a US-Iran agreement on nuclear technology, parroting the Israeli militarist solution against regional rivals!
Mme. Clinton has remained an unrepentant enemy to the emerging independent Latin American governments. In search of vassal states, Clinton promoted successful military coups in Honduras and Paraguay, but was defeated in Venezuela. She proudly touts the death squad regime in Honduras among her foreign policy successes.
Mme. Hillary backed the death squad and narco-regimes in Colombia and Mexico, which killed over a hundred thousand civilians.
On the path to global war, Mme. Militarist has prepared to encircle Russia, stationing nuclear weapons in the Balkans and Poland. She promised that missiles would be placed in south central Europe and Ukraine.
Clinton raised the nuclear ante by hysterically claiming that the elected Russian President Vladimir Putin was ‘worse than ISIS’… ‘worse’ than Hitler.
Repeatedly threatening global war and actually making aggressive regional war should clearly have marked Mme. Hillary Clinton as unfit for the Presidency of the United States. She is politically, intellectually and emotionally unable to deal realistically with an independent Russia and any other independent power, including China and Iran. Her monomania is a course of violent ‘regime changes’, unable to evaluate any of the catastrophes her policymaking has in fact already produced.
Hillary Clinton was the proud author and director of the so-called US ‘pivot to Asia’. Clinton’s ‘pivot’ has led to a massive buildup of the US air and naval forces surrounding China’s maritime routes to its global markets and access to essential raw materials.
Clinton’s hyper-militarism expanded US war zones to cover Australia, Japan and the Philippines, greatly heightening tensions and increasing the possibility of a military provocation leading to nuclear war with China.
No US presidential contender, past or present, has engaged in more offensive wars, in a shorter time, uttering greater nuclear threats than Mme. Hillary Clinton. That she has not yet set off the nuclear holocaust is probably a result of the Administrative constraints imposed on the Mme. Secretary of State by the less blood-thirsty President Obama. These limitations will end if and when Mme. Hillary Clinton is ‘elected’ President of the United States in a process that the electorate increasingly knows is ‘rigged’ toward that outcome.
Donald Trump: the Peaceful Road to Recession
In sharp contrast to the militarist Mme. Clinton, Donald Trump, ‘the Businessman’, has adopted a relatively peaceful approach to international politics for an American presidential candidate in the current era.
‘Businessman’ Trump envisions productive negotiations with Russian President Putin. Employing his loudly trumpeted deal-making genius to benefit the United States, Trump predicts economic and diplomatic successes with Russia, China and other major powers.
Angered at US military allies enjoying decades of US Treasury largesse, a President Trump promises to withdraw US military bases from Asia and Europe and demanding that overseas allies ‘pony-up’ for their own defense.
What the war mongers in the mass media, academia and Washington bureaucracy, dismiss as ‘Trump’s isolationism’, The Businessman describes as rebuilding America by converting overseas military spending into domestic infrastructure projects and ‘real’ jobs in America.
Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, under his ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, does not envision wars of conquest against Muslim countries, especially since they have already led to massive floods of Muslim refugees, threatening trade and stability, and Trump opposition to the entry of more Muslim refugees into the US. Trump’s foreign policy of limited military goals and warfare is diametrically opposed to Clinton’s total war strategy. Trump, ridiculed by his rivals for ‘his small hands’, does not appear to have Hillary’s itchy trigger finger on the nuclear button!
Trump mouths contradictory economic statements, especially his proposals to “rebuild America”, while operating in the framework of an imperial system. As President of the United States, his protectionist policies will come into direct confrontation with US and global ‘finance and monopoly capitalism’ and will likely lead to systematic disinvestment and a disastrous economic collapse or, more likely, the Businessman-President’s capitulation to the status quo.
The problem is not Trump’s pledges to tax the rich (as he occasionally promises) , or expand Social Security (as he claims), but his failure to admit that these policies would lead to massive flight by the capitalist elite to avoid taxes. The major threat is that, if Trump follows-up on his America-First policies, there will be massive capital resistance and a Congressional revolt by both finance-dominated political parties, which will paralyze any hope for his economic agenda.
Without political independence to implement his domestic economic agenda, Trump will have to face a massive investment and lending revolt from capitalists and bankers who would be very willing to drive the fragile economy into a major recession – threatening a kind of ‘domestic economic sabotage’.
Trump’s Republican Party (and certainly the Democrats) will never support a program which will force multi-national capital to sacrifice its reliance on cheap overseas labor and double digit profits in order to create American jobs and employ American workers at living wages.
A President Trump would not even secure a handful of Congressional votes to increase taxes on plutocrats to fund his proposed large-scale public works, infrastructure and job creation projects.
The Businessman President would face the full fury of the powerful military-industrial-high tech complex if and when he attempted to retire US global military forces from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The non-politician Trump’s historic rise to national political prominence has its roots in the ideas and values of the majority of working people who have been marginalized to the fringes by the media moguls and Wall Street riff-raff. Today Trump’s themes and ideas resonate with the mainstream of voters.
Several dominant ideas circulate in his speeches and interviews.
First, Trump rejects ‘globalization’ (the watered-down PR term for imperialism) and ‘free trade’ (a euphemism for the transfer of profits extracted from US workers to business investment abroad).
Trump’s narrative resonates with the recent anti-Wall Street ‘Occupy’ movements opposing the power of 0.1% super rich against the vast majority.
Secondly, Trump embraces economic nationalism in his slogan “Make American Great Again”. Too many American workers and their families resent having been exploited, maimed and slaughtered to serve multiple wars in the Middle East, Asia and Europe for the interests of US warlords, bankers, Zionists and other imperial royalties. Trump argues that the entire inflated security and corporate welfare system has led to an untenable debt payments spiral.
The third theme that draws millions is Trump’s notion that the US should reject the policy of serial ‘regime change’. We should not initiate and engage in perpetual overseas wars against Muslim countries as a way to avoid domestic attacks by individual terrorists. During an early foreign policy debate, Trump shocked the political establishment when he accused the Bush Administration of deliberately lying the country into the disastrous invasion of Iraq. This ‘truth-telling’ elicited wild applause from the mass Republican electorate.
Trump’s goal is to strengthen American civilization and avoid provoking more ‘clashes of civilizations’…
The fourth, and probably most attractive, message to most Americans is Trump’s powerful assault on Washington and Wall Street elites and their academic and media apologists.
Millions of Americans have been disgusted with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas, as well as the Morgans, Goldman Sachs and Paulsons, whose policies have exacerbated class inequalities through multiple banking swindles and financial crashes, all ‘bailed out’ by the American tax payers.
Fifth, Trump’s loud, brash exposure of the mass media’s lies and propaganda has resonated with the same deep distrust felt by the American public. His talent for talking directly and bluntly to the public and on the internet has led to his enormous appeal. He does not engage in ‘conspiracy’ but acknowledges that the Edward Snowden revelations have unmasked the government’s deceptions and its program of espionage against the people, destroying the foundations for democratic discourse.
Trump might win the election based on his ‘five truths’ and his pledge to ‘make America great again’, but more likely he will lose because he has insulted the traditional establishment, the Latinos, Afro-Americans, feminists, trade union bureaucrats and their followers from both parties. Even if he succeeds at the ballot box, his political agenda with relying on Republican elites in Washington and Wall Street, the Pentagon and the ‘international security system’ will lead to a major economic crisis. For the elite, if blocking Trump’s domestic economic agenda requires a financial crash to defend ‘globalization’, serial wars and the 0.1%, then tighten your belts!
This November, the country will face the disagreeable choice between a proven nuclear warmonger and a captive of Wall Street. I will try to keep warm, roast chestnuts and avoid thinking about Mme. President’s Looming Mushroom Cloud.